Smart sensors provide an interactive visitor experience at Manchester Pride

Sparta - Pride 2016 - image credit Emma

As part of Manchester’s drive to become a smarter city, Sparta Digital‘s Buzzin app and Bluetooth sensors were used at Manchester’s Pride celebrations over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The app, part of Sparta’s open sensor infrastructure within CityVerve, uses the latest micro-location based sensors installed in fifteen locations across the area to help people make the most of their visit.

With Buzzin, visitors could receive information via their smartphones about the events occurring at various locations around the city – including the wristband exchange area, three main stages, and bars and restaurants in the Gay Village.

As people using the app arrived at the wristband exchange area they received a welcome message and a digital map to guide them around the Pride celebrations. Proximity to the stages would trigger the opportunity to interact and receive information about show time listings and exclusive deals from local businesses in the city.

Working with public transport operators Transdev, visitors were also given free rides on X43 Witch Way buses departing from Chorlton Street, right outside the Village, to destinations outside of the city.

Trialling this technology at Pride has received a good response from both users and businesses. More than 100 user interactions with the sensors were recorded, engaging over 500 people on Facebook and more than 2,600 impressions on Twitter.

Following the festivities, Kieran Bussoopun, events manager at Pride’s Big Weekend event , said: “We are really excited about what these new technologies could offer to our visitors and the data it can collect that could help us improve our services.”

This success opens up the possibility for working with next year’s Pride and other festivals happening in the city. Buzzin has more than 100 locations supported by its sensor technology including buses, art galleries, tourist attractions and various local businesses within Manchester (and nearby Leeds too).

While improving the user experience of visitors to the city, it also offers great potential to quantify the benefits to local businesses and provide data to authorities for city planning. There is still some way to go in spreading the word about the value the Internet of Things offers to businesses and citizens alike, but initiatives like the use of Buzzin at Pride are a great way to communicate this.

Sparta plans to use its sensors to support CityVerve’s various use cases, including city concierge systems, talkative bus stops and citizen engagement.

The app is available for free download on both Google’s Play  and Apple’s App stores.

Image via Flickr

September 09, 2016 by in Events

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